There’s now a Global Series for Apex Legends players. But most folks will likely still watch League of Legends on Twitch. Read more below.
Electronic Arts and Respawn Entertainment just unveiled the Apex Legends Global Series, a set of esports tournaments with a prize pool of $3 million. This series is intended to help both amateurs and pros alike to compete in online and live events. Considering Apex Legends age of being less than a year old, this is a pretty bold move. The game won the Best Multiplayer Game at the recent The Game Awards and has had more than 70 million downloads since it was first released.
How it works: The Global Series will initially feature 12 global live events. Registration will open in early January for both pros and amateurs. Residents of more than 60 eligible countries that meet the minimum age, PC system requirements, and other eligibility requirements can compete. The competitions will start online, forcing players to advance to live, regional Challenger Events, and then global Premier Events. Players earn points for their performances in these events, and those at the top will receive invitations to the four Global Series Majors.
The Majors: The first three majors each will feature 100 three-player squads from around the world. The fourth Major is the Championship, or the grand finale. Only the top 60 teams will compete at this event for $1 million in prizes and the title of Apex Legends Global Series World Champion.
As 2019 comes to a close, fans can once more say the streaming crown has returned home. League of Legends has retaken the title of most-watched game on Twitch with a total of 990 million hours watched this year, according to both StreamElements and Arsenal.gg.
Previous years’ review: Last year, Fortnite took the victory by a storm with more than one billion hours watched in 2018. This came in part to popular Fortnite streamer Tyler “Ninja” Blevins having a record-breaking stream with popular rapper Drake, Travis Scott, and pro NFL player JuJu Smith-Schuster, which ultimately helped boost the game to the top spot on Twitch. The single stream alone brought in more than 600,000 viewers, a record on Twitch for most concurrent viewers on an individual channel.
The reality of now: In 2019, the popularity of Fortnite has gone down. While the game still remains played by a large number of people, it wasn’t viewed in as much of a frenzy as the previous year. Combined with streamers like Ninja switching to Mixer, Fortnite’s viewership numbers declined by nearly 30 percent versus the previous year.
How LoL changed: The League has only continued to flourish with time. More players and pro leagues have only increased streaming opportunities. This, combined with new games like Teamfight Tactics and Legends of Runeterra have given Riot Games more opportunities to hog the viewership numbers.
It isn’t unusual to feel like an entire year has been one big disappointment. There’s plenty of ways things can go wrong. But in an effort to appeal to everyone’s positive side, here’s a small breakdown of reasons why 2019 was a good year. Let’s take a look at the items that focus more on esports.
First female player in the NBA 2k League
It took a while for esports organizations to try and diversify their rosters. But one team managed to accomplish just that. 2K Games and the National Basketball Association welcomed Chiquita Evans as the first female player in the NBA 2K League. This drafting alone made the entire room erupt with cheering.
First woman to win a Hearthstone tournament
Nothing could detract from the missive victory it was to simply see Xiaomeng “Liooon” Li at BlizzCon this year as she slowly made her way through the Hearthstone GrandMasters. Once she’d made it to the global finals, she thrashed her opponent with a 3-0 victory, earning her both first place in the tournament (plus $200,000) and a place as the first woman to win any major competition at BlizzCon. Speaking after her victory, she said, “I want to say for all the girls out there who have a dream for esports competition, for glory, if you want to do it and you believe in yourself, you should just forget your gender and go for it.”
Fortnite World Cup winner wins more than Wimbledon champions
2019 had the first Fortnite World Cup, and in it US player Kyle Giersdorf ultimately took home the first-place prize of $3 million. This amounts to more than the winner of the men’s competition at Wimbledon.
Navy officials recently revealed their plan to drop the usual Super Bowl advertising to instead spend their budget on online advertising. Two years ago, they were blowing nearly $20 million on television advertising. But that’s not where their target audience is now. The “one thing we did learn” they said from paying for ads during the Super Bowl games was that their target audience wasn’t watching them.
What they’re doing instead: Now they plan on spending $33 million on digital campaigns and a mere $1 million on billboard advertisements and radio station ads. Their 2020 budget for television campaigns is zero. How better to reach their audience of 17- to 28-year-olds than through esports events. An estimated 61% of esports viewers are under 25, which makes the targeted market of viewers an ideal one.
Joining the esports bandwagon: Now they plan to become a prominent sponsor of esports events, even going so far as to “fielding an all-Navy esports team pulled from the service’s current pool of active duty recruiters.” They plan on holding auditions for the esports team in May 2020.
We covered things earlier this week when the following winners were announced for the 2019 ESPN Esports awards:
Well, we’re two days further into the announcements, so there’s two more winners to be identified.
All that’s left now is to be announced the winner for Best Player. Stay tuned for our Monday edition to catch that information.
In 2018, Ninja leveraged the popularity of Fortnite in addition to his celebrity connections to become one of the most-watched streamers on Twitch. But this year a new individual sits at the top of the chart as the most-watched “influencer”: Tfue.
The rankings of hours watched
About Tfue: His esports success, which first began with multiple wins at KEEMSTAR’s Friday Fortnite competition, Tfue gained popularity in 2018, but came in second to Ninja among Fortnite followers. He slowly gained ground on Ninja in terms of hours watched, even despite a short hiatus from streaming in September. Still, he lacks the same level of mainstream endorsement deals as other streamers, plus he also is involved in a highly-publicized legal dispute with FaZe Clan, his former team.
Ninja’s initiatives: Ninja, despite a lack of hours watched, hasn’t let this become a detriment to his popularity. No, he’s gone on to unveil a pair of custom sneakers he designed in collaboration with Adidas. Additionally, he’s been on numerous YouTube shows that span myriad genres of pop culture.
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Name: Theresa Gaffney
What do you do at SlashShout?
I am very fortunate to be a part of the SlashShout team as an editor and occasional content writer. I’m looking forward to going all-in on content creation as we continue to grow here!
What is your involvement with the esports industry? How long have you been interested in esports?
I am currently the esports coach for Messiah College in Pennsylvania. We’re a brand new program about to launch into our first season this spring. Before this, I worked in the collegiate esports industry for eight years. I started as a writer at the Collegiate Starleague (CSL) covering the Starcraft II season. I went on to become the editor-in-chief there, and managed a staff of content creators covering the growing scene throughout the country. During this transition, I lived in Seoul for a year while doing some college English teaching, and collaborated on a collegiate tournament project with AfreecaTV in the summer of 2015. I worked with Harrisburg University for six months in 2008 starting up their social media channels, and have freelanced as an esports consultant since. I’ve been interested in competitive video gaming in some form or another for longer — my first related memories were during high school in the late 90s at the Chinatown Fair arcade in NYC.
What are your favorite games to play/watch?
I play Overwatch a ton these days, and get a lot of Smash Ultimate time in with friends whenever possible. I still enjoy watching Starcraft streams the most, but my general viewing habits lean towards League of Legends since I have a lot more friends here and abroad to talk to about the scene.
What’s the #1 thing keeping you from going pro?
Probably age, haha. I’m definitely past “prime” at this point (Justin Wong’s my age but he’s obviously done this for years!). Also I’m quite happy doing what I do in esports already!
What is your favorite thing about the esports industry?
Its global appeal. Esports is its own language of sorts. Also I’ve made so many friends in the industry that have gone on to do amazing things all over the world that the scope and reach of esports humbles me every time I think about it.
Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
Follow me on Twitter @theresagaffney and my team @messiahesports! I’d love to connect with our SlashShout readers and help make awesome things happen here.
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